Nicolo Reber

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Artist Statement

When I was graduating from college, my mom found herself the victim of an elaborate fraud brought upon by her live-in boyfriend, whose career con artist roots started in the early seasons of America’s Most Wanted. Assessing the experience was a confrontation with reality, a continuous exploration between true and false, and a dissection into complicity. In the years that followed, narrative driven social media sites like Instagram innovated the projection of selective information, alongside the continued prevalence of reality television. In studying the success of these phenomenons, it became clear that to impart influence, one’s message needed to be direct. The “Sign Paintings” (images 1-8) mimic the hyper-focused terseness of the tenets of everyday language: subject lines, trending topics, and captions. Exploiting the history of these signs, the duplicity of the language reconfigures the factual iterations they are traditionally found in. The ubiquity of the text in these works reflects our growing distance from verbal communication, and the reliance of effective verse as a means of building intrapersonal confidence. In some forms, the various fonts account for different personalities at combat for our limited attention spans. In others, the messages are more singular, almost confrontational. The goal is to capitalize on the viewer’s trust, and present an opportunity for concurrent interpretations of the ideas they present.

Subcultures and the styles they breed are another key theme in my practice. The “Allure” series (images 9-11) contrasts the airbrushed ideals of the YouTube beauty tutorial community with the DIY skill set and production value that new viewers possess. Makeup processes like highlighting and shadowing are splotchily applied, but are worn with the feigned confidence that marks the path to self actualization. “Do You Even Lift?” (image 12/video 1), sources images of carefully arranged stolen goods that are posted to shoplifting communities on Tumblr. Projected onto a faux fur rug, the banal objects available from the targeted retail chains fall short of the gloss of aspirational luxury culture. Flickering twinkle lights inside latex gloves serve as a reminder of both the five finger discount and the brief high that every response to these haul posts gives their posters.

In “Business Casual” (images 13-15), the carefree nature of the Hawaiian shirt falls in opposition with the realities of colonization and tourism. Family photos from my great uncle’s Naval service in pre-Pearl Harbor Honolulu recall its history as both a sight of national grief and its later incarnation as a tourist destination. The inclusion of postcards from WTC kiosks considers the relationship between both events. Souvenir’s French translation of “to remember” and the “never forget” 9/11 commemoration play into the complicated feelings toward the commerce created around tragedy. Another shirt compiles screengrabs collected from the cult show “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” Here, the central figure is my uncle Bosco (image 14) whose own cons landed him on the wrong side of the law. The mass digital archives of the Internet (the Dog episode was purchased easily on Amazon) can be unremitting in documenting our worst moments, and in organizing the narrative of the shirt in the linear approach found on Google image search, the lasting effects of this information’s availability is felt in literal physical form.

Publications are a critical component to the explorations of my visual works. Zines often accompany my exhibitions, or offer a mode to explore more tangential concerns. “Motivation” (image 16) features a book of self-help poetry, with a 2 hour audio companion tape of jock jams, life coaching, and excerpts from Disney sport films. Since its inception 3 years ago, I’ve co-edited Packet Biweekly, (images 17/18) with Chris Nosenzo and Christine Zhu. To date, we’ve published 82 issues, featuring the work of over 300 artists, in pretty much every medium possible. We run our own subscription service, offering a chance to print emerging talents, and directly share their work with readers around the country. Out of inspiration for the print traditions of fandoms, creating a magazine that serves as an archive for the art of my peers, has been another way to channel my excitements and absorptions into physical form.





2011 Pratt Institute, BFA in Writing for Publication, Media, and Performance


2016 Allure, Outside Gallery, North Adams, MA
2014 Business Casual, AMO Studios, New York, NY

the doer of great deeds and the speaker of great words, Hap Gallery, Portland, OR
Zuckerschock!, P71, Berlin, Germany
Publish or Perish, Transmitter Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
You Can Call Me Baby, Spring Break Art Show, New York, NY
FOMO, Black and White Project Space, Brooklyn, NY
Scent, Dickinson Roundell, New York, NY
Miami, Sunset Drive, Miami, FL
Maybe I’m Amazed, Knockdown Center, Brooklyn, NY
Naked Runaway, Middle Collegiate Church, New York, NY
Pure Potentiality, Achter de Boom, New York, NY
Bindle, Hood Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
The Frivolous Now, Alon Zakaim Gallery, London, England
Bloomsday, Knockdown Center, Brooklyn, NY
Out of Line, Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York, NY
Say It With Flowers, Kimberly-Klark, Queens, NY
Bye Felicia, Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York, NY
Winter Collection, Kimberly-Klark, Queens, NY
And the Villagers Never Liked You Anyway, Knockdown Center, Brooklyn, NY
Recycled Origins, Living Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Across the Gutter, HumanNYC, Brooklyn, New York, NY
99c Plus Art Shop, 99c Plus Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Wonder Books at BABZ at Signal Gallery
Come as you are 2 at American Medium
Raincoat in the Sky Release at AVIV
IPhone Camera Sound at No. 4 Studio
BHQFU Book Fair Marathon at Bruce High Quality Foundation
Rending the Veil at 56 Henry
Bread and Circuses at The Java Project
From the Author’s Private Collection Release at The Wooly
Hero Systems at Molasses Books


Packet Biweekly, Cultural Partner at NADA New York
The Event Economy, Moderator, Panel discussion at NADA New York
MoMA acquisition of Packet Biweekly archive
Packet-on-Air, 10 episode radio show on Know-Wave
Participation in LA and NY Art Book Fairs
This is an Issue: Packet Artist Talk, Printed Matter, New York, NY
89Plus Colony Conference hosted by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Klaus Biesenbach, and Simon Castets, MOMA PS1, Long Island City, NY


Packet Biweekly, Editor, Issues 1-82
“Mondo Hollywood,” Holy Shit, Bonefold Zine
“Life on the Fringe,” Raincoat in the Sky, Edited by Richard Perez
Packet Biweekly, Editor, Issues 1-82
“Fiorucci: A Love Letter,” Le Roy Magazine
“Smart, Pretty, Emotionally Stable,” Editor, Packet Poetry Special, Issue #61
“Chaotic,” 413 Hart Street Zine
“Casual Barr,” Booklub 7 Zine
“I’m Melting,” The Sleepless
“Streetwear and Class Struggle in the 1990’s,” Packet Fashion Special Vol. 2
“I Haven’t Changed,” Hologram Zine
“Wayne’s World,” Humor and the Abject published by Social Malpractice

“Earlier this week,” It’s Time 2 Get Real Dreamy
“Open the Door Again,” St. George and the Dragon published by Slow Youth
Cover Residency, Issues 20-26, Packet Biweekly
“Covergirl,” Water Science, Issue #4
Selected Poems, Decades Magazine


Stan (stalker+fan) (companion to Allure)
Our Time on the Moon, with Anthony Cudah
Last Night I Had An Eyes Wide Shut Orgy Dream & I’m So Disappointed You Weren’t In It
xemotropesx with Emma Hazen
Peter Ivers’ Fan Fic
Za Nami
Fuck Nicole
Tourist Trap
There Has To Be a Cooler Word for Scrapbooking
I Have Been a Hotel Woman
You Can’t Get Off Here
The Architecture of Dreams
Diane/Jinxed, with Chris Nosenzo


Interview Magazine (Print): “Read: Packet Biweekly” by Rachel Small
Milk: “An Art Publication You Don’t Need To Be Scared Of” by Jocelyn Silver
New York Times: “Galleries Scramble Amidst Brooklyn’s Gentrification” by Holland Cotter
W Magazine: “A Poseur’s Guide to Armory Week 2016” by Ally Betker and Stephanie Eckardt
W Magazine: “Who Won Armory Week on Instagram?” by Emilia Petrarca
Art F City: “Rachel Stern’s SPRING/BREAK Slideshow” by Rachel Stern
Gothamist: “Spring/Break Kicks Off Armory Arts Week With A Long Line & A Kissing Closet” by Scott Lynch
i-D: “5 Things You Can’t Miss at Spring/Break, NYC’s Buzziest Art Fair” by Emily Manning
W Magazine: “The Not-So-Hidden Messages of Armory Week” by Stephanie Eckardt
Dazed: “Why are people still shocked by female sexuality?” by Ione Gamble
Village Voice: “Spellbinding Pieces at the 2016 SPRING/BREAK Art Show” by Laura June Kirsch
Art Observed: “AO On-Site – New York: SPRING/BREAK Art Show” by D. Creahan
Paper: “Beyond the Main Fair: 9 Things to see this Armory Arts Week” by Kate Messinger
Le Roy (Print): “Nicole Reber Artist Feature” by Kelvin Soh
Hyperallergic: “Hyperallergic’s Review of Art Books and Zines #2” by Elisa Wouk Almino
Dazed: “This art show aims to slow down time in New York” by Ashleigh Kane
Poetry Foundation: “Shoot, If That Ain’t Too Pretty” by Brandon Downing
Complex: “Nicole Reber Explores the Dark Side of Paradise With Hawaiian-Themed Works” by Alani Nelson
Vice: “Aloha, Business Casual: Nicole Reber’s Hawaiian Shirt Exhibition at AMO Studios” by Emily Colucci